Dear Ms. Behavior:
My best friend and her girlfriend just had a baby. Ellen promised that she wouldn’t become one of those mothers who only talk about feeding schedules and nipple chafing and poop. But guess what? It’s all she talks about. I don’t want to be petulant, but Ellen and her girlfriend don’t pay enough attention to me and my issues anymore. We don’t go out to bars, they don’t invite me over to dinner, and I feel like I’ve lost my best friend. Why do lesbians forget that their other friends even exist as soon as they give birth? I feel all alone in the world. How long do people remain obsessed with their infants? Can I demand that they be better friends to me, even though they have a noisy smelly baby now? Or am I supposed to just let my resentment fester until I burst?
Ellen and her girlfriend have clearly forgotten who you are. If you go ring their doorbell wearing only a diaper and carrying a bottle, they might remember how much you need them. Then they’ll scoop you up in their arms and rock you in a blanket, and you’ll feel much better.
Most parents talk gibberish for the first two years of their baby’s lives, and aren’t capable of normal adult conversation until their child is old enough for kindergarten. This is not something you can or should fight; you cannot win the battle against genetically programmed behavior. Perhaps you’ll feel more a part of the family if you become willing to take a role in the baby’s life. If being an uncle seems unappealing at first, maybe you can adjust to it gradually, or become an auntie instead.
You’ll probably want to make some new friends too, rather than waiting five or six years for Ellen to become more attentive. But you should know that becoming totally baby-focused is not exclusive to lesbian parents, lest you think the odds of becoming the center of the universe will improve if you find a straight woman to be your mommy.
Dear Ms. Behavior:
I’m dating Linda, a great and smart woman, who is everything I’ve always wanted in a partner. The complication is that she is currently trying to have a baby with her close gay male friend, David. They’ve been inseminating for months and plan to raise the child together. David is very nice but he’s always around and I’m worried that it will only worsen after Linda gets pregnant. I’ve always wanted a baby too, but I’m not sure how I feel about three-way parenting. I’ve found myself hoping that Linda will fall in love with me and then change her mind about her arrangement with David. That’s probably jumping too far ahead anyway, because Linda and I have only had two dates. But would I be foolish to pursue a relationship with Linda?
After two dates you want Linda to change her mind and alter her life plans? Most lesbians don’t demand that their girlfriends modify their lives until the fourth date, by which point you’d have more information to determine whether you at least have compatible appetites for music, food, and sex.
When you get involved with someone new, try to imagine that things will remain exactly as they are, rather than assume that they’ll be modified to suit you. People change in all sorts of ways over time, but rarely in precisely the ways that you hope or imagine. Hinging your happiness on a particular change puts a huge strain on a relationship. Don’t pursue a relationship with Linda if you’ll only be happy if she dumps David. David and his sperm are clearly at the center of Linda’s life right now, so you need to instead figure out whether or not you can be happy with that arrangement.
© 2013 Meryl Cohn. Address questions and correspondence to [email protected].